MarocMama

eat well, travel often, dream big!

My Muslim Christmas Story

When I became a Muslim 10 years ago there was no doubt in my mind that Christmas would still be a part of our lives. For me it was one of the most magical parts of childhood. Long before I was an adult worrying about budgets and gifts and Santa, and how should we, of two different cultures raise our children, and a million other questions it simply was the most wonderful time of the year. Way before the culture wars, the religion wars, the shaming and “haram/halal” banter, it was the time I felt so incredibly happy.

I’m going to take you back in time so you can see where I’m speaking from today. When I was a little girl we had several Christmas parties with family, usually at least four. It began in mid-December and ran until the New Year. For each grandparent’s house there were certain things that I remember being special. This year, I’m remembering those times and am heartbroken that I’m missing them all.

My Muslim Christmas Story

Long before the parties my mom would start decorating. We would go and cut down a small pine tree for our porch and buy pine boughs that she put in front of the house with big red ribbons and lights.My mom didn’t do tacky Christmas decorations, she just did beautiful things. We never had a real pine tree in the house but there were plenty of decorations. My mom’s parents had a camp in the woods and after Thanksgiving we’d go with grandpa to cut down a real pine tree that we could have and decorate. On December 1st our chocolate advent calendars appeared and we gobbled our daily sweet hidden behind the paper window. Up went the Christmas countdown with the days of December and a little mouse on a string to slip into the daily pockets. School programs, church activities, and after school activities – Christmas took over in December.  When it came close we started our family traditions.

Christmas Program

With my dad’s parents we would have dinner with my aunts and cousins at my grandma and grandpa’s house which was an eternal Santa village. My grandma really loves Santa. Chances are she has more than one thousand figures, ornaments, and paintings. We’d have cheese ravioli and homemade red sauce, garlic bread (that seriously no one made better than grandma), and cookies for dessert. When we were younger they chose our gifts but when we got older it was a special treat to go shopping with grandma to chose our own presents, that of course had to be wrapped and saved until the night of our dinner. We would always play in the back bedrooms, sneaking pennies to get gumballs from a machine grandma kept hidden while grandpa would grumble back at us (in the most lighthearted way of course) to see what we were doing. The house was small but somehow we all crammed around the kitchen table with just inches between the chairs and the counter top. When the night ended we’d warm up the car, bring out our gifts and drive home half asleep.

Christmas with Grandma

On Christmas Eve we always went to my mom’s parents. When we were older we went to the midnight candlelight church service. I can still smell the pine boughs, see the entire church dark except for the shimmering lights we each held in our hands, and everyone singing. From there we’d go to my grandparents house. They had an insulated porch off the back and grandpa would have a big fire in the fireplace waiting for us. My cousins and I tuned in the radio so that we could listen to the NORAD Santa tracker, following to see when he was close to us. We knew that Santa would be stopping at the house because our parents secretly arranged for him to come with a big red bag of gifts. Dinner was always hot turkey sandwiches, Italian sausage and lots of side dishes. The olive tray was where we’d sneak as many as possible to make olive fingers. Of course there were gifts here too, all in anticipation of the big event.

On Christmas Day we woke up early and eagerly awaited what was under the tree. I remember our stockings were stuffed full and there were gifts under the tree. I don’t remember the gifts so much but I do remember sitting with my mom, dad, and sister opening them. Soon everyone would come to our house for brunch. When it was all done it was like the end of riding a giant wave. But we knew next year would come soon enough.

My Muslim Christmas Story Kids

When I married MarocBaba whether we would have Christmas or not was not a question. I couldn’t wait to share this time of year with him.We took rides to see the lights. We went shopping for gifts for my family and I even surprised him with a plane ticket home to Morocco on his first Christmas in America. We had fun buying Santa gifts for M even though he was still too little to know what was going on. MarocBaba never pushed back, he never saw anything wrong with joining my family for this tradition. Sure, we didn’t go to church anymore but that didn’t mean we had to sit at home. He really loves Christmastime and so when we went to Germany to find Christmas he was 100% on board!

Many Muslims ask me why we celebrate Christmas. They berate our choice and insist it’s wrong. That’s fine. But, for me turning my back on Christmas is turning my back on my family, my culture and my identity. Something I refuse to do. When I became Muslim I didn’t become Moroccan, nor do I want to magically Arabize myself and shun my own culture. If anything I’ve become more confident in my identity and myself. Asking me to forget this is like asking a Moroccan or an Egyptian when they move to the US to forget their holidays, their childhood memories, the things that made them who they are today because it’s somehow “wrong.” I didn’t grow up with Muslim holidays. While my nieces and nephews squeal with glee for Eid al Adha, I shrug my shoulders. I don’t get it, I don’t understand why it’s a big deal but I respect that it is an important part of their identity and life experience. For those of us who embrace Islam, we come from a different background. We have a different identity and a different set of experiences. It’s difficult for someone who has always been Muslim to see and accept those differences.

My children are being raised to know they are the product of two unique and important cultures. They have an identity that transcends borders. We are raising them to know, understand, and celebrate who they are and where they come from. I hope when they’re older they have magical memories of Eids and Christmas’ – and that will be the best gift of all.

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Recipes Ideas for a Moroccan Passover and Mimouna
Passover started last Sunday and while this isn’t a holiday that’s on the Islamic calendar, it is on the Jewish calendar of which there are many Moroccan Jews. The communities in Morocco today are very small and I can’t say I’ve even met someone who is Jewish and living here (yet! I’m trying to find some!) Moroccan Jews have a special holiday celebration at the end of Passover called Mimouna. From everything I’ve read and heard it is localized to only Morocco. I would really love to find out more about the history of the holiday, how it came to be, and how it was celebrated in the past and continues today. If anyone knows of any Moroccan Jews in Marrakech that will be celebrating this year, I would love to make a connection!

 

Moroccan Passover and Mimouna

 

I’ve gathered some of my Moroccan recipes that are Passover – Sephardic friendly as well as some links to previous posts on Mimouna. At the end you’ll also find a recipe that was shared with me by Kim Kushner – one of my favorite go-to sources for Moroccan Jewish recipes. Even if you’re not celebrating Passover or Mimouna these are some great recipes for any meal!

 

Some recipes I think you’ll like;

 

Kim’s recipe for Berkouksh – perfect to include in your Mimouna celebrations! You can also get Kim’s cookbook, The Modern Menu on Amazon for more great recipes and ideas! 
Berkouksh (courtesy of Kim Kushner)

4-6

Ingredients

  • 4 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 bag (16 ounces)Israeli toasted couscous
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • To serve:
  • Buttermilk
  • Sugar

Instructions

  • Place the water in a medium sized pot, bring to a boil over high heat.
  • Season the boiling water with salt. Add the couscous and stir well. Reduce the temperature to medium-high, and cook, uncovered, for 5 minutes.
  • Add the milk and butter to the pot, and cook the couscous for 5 minutes longer until soft. Drain the couscous. Spoon into individual bowls, and serve with a splash of buttermilk, and a sprinkle of sugar

Notes

Kim Kushner, author of The Modern Menu and the website Kim Kushner shared this recipe with me and granted permission to publish. I hope you enjoy it as a part of your Mimouna celebration!

3.1
http://marocmama.com/2014/04/recipes-ideas-for-a-moroccan-passover-and-mimouna.html

 

Have you heard of Mimouna? Do you celebrate?

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Valentine’s Day Meals for Two and Destination Inspired Date Ideas

The funny thing about living outside of the United States is that a lot of holidays just come and go.  Unless we make a really conscious effort to remember them (like Thanksgiving) they slip by. Earlier this week it dawned on me that Valentine’s Day is soon. Truth be told, we don’t usually do much. I might make the boys a special breakfast and MarocBaba and I may go out for coffee or dessert but it’s kind of like every other day. I’ve never been swept up in the sentimental side of the holiday and so maybe I don’t know what I’m missing? But, I have found a lot of my friends who are young professionals, new parents, or just on a budget (and who our age isn’t on a budget?) don’t have the cash or ability to invest in a fancy night out.

Valentines Dates for Two

 

Instead I propose a celebration at home and I’m going to share 10 special ideas for food you can make at home, and some suggestions to make it more than a meal, but a destination inspired celebration!

Dark-Chocolate-Orange-Pistachio-Greek-Yogurt-Cups

Dark Chocolate Orange and Pistachio Greek Yogurt Cups from Cupcakes and Kale Chips – Greece

This one was fairly obvious. If evenings are difficult for you, why not make a breakfast date? These yogurt cups are quick to put together and a special treat. Consider practicing the Greek tradition of “kidnapping” the bride - if even just in spirit! Wake up a little early and share breakfast over a sunrise.  

French-Onion-Soup-0161

French Onion Soup from Dessert for Two – France

France is one of the countries in which Valentine’s Day supposedly got it’s beginning and really is there anywhere else on earth that conjures up more romantic notions than France? After a nice dinner, why not slip into a warm bath with scented flower petals or candles? A pre-marriage ritual that can easily be replicated today either alone or in tandem! 

 Mushroom Dip

 

Skillet Mushroom Dip for Two from Farm Fresh Eats – Finland

This is a stretch but we ate some amazing mushroom dip with blini’s in Finland so why not? To celebrate in Finnish style, wait until the sunsets and light as many candles as you can find, then dig into this delicious dip. What’s more romantic than that?

 

porktenderloin-nssl_0

Honey Ginger Pork Tenderloin from Nosh and Nourish (Chicken would work in this recipe too!) – Japan

Men are off the hook in this culture! In Japan it’s women who gift men chocolates on this day. If you want something fun and more of a challenge pick up some different colored and patterned papers and see how many origami patterns you can master. End the evening by sharing some Japanese green tea

Stovetop-Mac-N-Cheese-recipe-2

Stovetop Mac and Cheese from Dessert for Two – A Cozy Cabin in the Snow

Love can be expressed in many ways and personally I think gooey cheesy is one of the most perfect. This is serious comfort food to be enjoyed while huddled under blankets, watching the snow come down and enjoying the fireplace.  Even if it’s a fireplace DVD!

spiced sirloin

Spiced Sirloin Roast for Two from An Edible Mosaic  – Argentina

Why Argentina? Because it produces some of the most delicious beef in the world! Invite your loved one to dinner with a homemade card and  a Spanish poem inside like; Las rosas son rojas, Las violetas, azules, El azúcar es dulce Y también eres tú! (Cheesy, yes but also fun!) Play some music from this region during dinner and include some Argentinian wine or juices with your meal.

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Pesto Potatoes and Veal Chops from The Hungry Goddess – Italy

Italy claims St. Valentine as one of their own and it’s no surprise that the holiday is a BIG deal in Italy. Poetry and letter writing were big parts of courtship rituals of the past, why not continue it today? Let your partner know in the morning that you’ll be sharing something handwritten with them at some point during the day and encourage them to do the same (sometimes romance needs some encouragement). It’s a cheap and meaningful way to show you care!

Skillet-Spanikopita-recipe-2

Skillet Spanikopita from Dessert for Two – Greek Islands

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Double Chocolate Chip Cookies for Two from Like Mother Like Daughter — Brazil

South America produces lots of cocoa – and you’ll need it for these cookies. Brazilians love to dance, so download some great samba music and use your kitchen or living room as a dance floor.  Not sure what you’re doing? There are loads of free dance lessons on YouTube.

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies for Two from Like Mother Like Daughter – Savannah, GA

The ultimate love story? It’s got to be Gone with the Wind. Set in the American south during the Civil War this is a classic film to enjoy over and over again. It’s perfect with some coffee, tea, or cocoa and these peanut butter (Georgia!) cookies.

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Mini Vegan Chocolate Chip Mixed Berry Pie from Jew Hungry – Los Angeles, CA

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Whether you’re looking forward to something special on February 14th or any day of the year, I hope these recipes and ideas inspire you to keep the love alive!

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Celebrating Thanksgiving as an Expat

Thanksgiving Abroad

 

Last week was American Thanksgiving, and the first holiday we celebrated out of the US. I spent most of the day making all of the staples, roast turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, sweet potatoes, pumpkin and apple pies. The boys didn’t really realize it was Thanksgiving, because of course it wasn’t mentioned in school and there’s no Thanksgiving commercials here, it was just another Thursday. When they came home at lunch they were waiting for the big meal. I wasn’t sure if my Moroccan in-laws would like traditional American Thanksgiving food but they did! Overall, it was a lot of work and there were only a few moments that I felt really sad not to be with my family.

What I’ve learned after this first holiday is that part of the experience is creating new holiday traditions.  On the weekend, we were invited to another friends house, with several American families. It was a Thanksgiving potluck and we all really enjoyed ourselves.  It was a nice change to have conversations that didn’t require any additional work translating. The kids were able to play with other “English” kids. I left that night knowing even though my blood family wasn’t able to celebrate with us, new friends and connections are just as meaningful. This year I am truly thankful for this.

Our Potluck Thanksgiving Table


I had so much fun watching my Facebook and Instagram streams during the day and it was even more fun to see other expats around the world sharing their celebrations.  I thought I would do a little recap to share Thanksgiving around the world!

ThanksgivingChina

China: Varya of Creative World of Varya

Since neither of us are from the US, Thanksgiving was just something we read about, watched movies about and taught about to our students when the day came and it was a part of the cultural enrichment when learning English. This year I had our first ever Thanksgiving dinner. Our African-American friend and her daughters made everything from scratch from whatever they could find in local supermarkets. We got to eat the most amazing turkey, stuffing, corn, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese casserole and few more dishes, including a lovely chocolate cake. It was a very nice friendly atmosphere and we really enjoyed sharing this special holiday with our friends!
ThanksgivingCostaRica

Costa Rica: Maribel of Stroller Adventures

Maribel opted for a red wine pot roast for their Thanksgiving dinner.  She and I have commiserated over our oven-less homes! Maribel said, “this was my first time making it, it was fully prepared on my crock pot and stove top.”  Looks delicious to me!

 

An African Thanksgiving

 Malawi/Zambia: Jody of Mud Hut Mama

What’s Thanksgiving like in the middle of the African bush? Maybe not as different as you imagine. My favorite line from Jody’s post, “I realized that I don’t have to be in the States to celebrate holidays the “right way” and I don’t have to try to recreate my own childhood for my kids, we will create our own traditions and memories that will be just as magical for my girls as the ones my parents created were for me.” So, so true!

Busy Bee in Paris

France: Maria of Busy as a Bee in Paris

Reading Maria’s post I could feel exactly the emotions she conveys. Waking up, imaging the sights and smells that have filled the day for years previous and then waking up and remembering you’re not there and this year will be different.

Wreath

 France: Jennifer of American Mom in Bordeaux

Jennifer was able to bring Thanksgiving to her girls’ school!  The kids completed a project in French and English about thankfulness. You know how much I love food diplomacy and so you’ll have to click over to read the results of her pumpkin pie sharing with the class. Was it a hit?

PaperScissorsStone

England: Kate of PaperScissorsStone

I really loved how Kate chose her menu. She wrote, “I won’t bore you with the details, but I assure you that I never would have chosen this menu on my own.I love it anyway because each dish represents a dear family member or friend, even if they won’t be at my table.” What a great idea for future Thanksgivings away from home!

Cordelia

Thailand; Cordelia of MultilingualMama

Like many expats, we end up celebrating Thanksgiving on Saturday since it isn’t a holiday and most people work and/or kids miss out with night-time celebrations. This year, we co-hosted with some friends at their house. It was a lovely cross-cultural affair. As hosts our families were Franco-American-Mexican and American-Ethiopian and our guests came from all over.
Thanksgiving can also be very expensive when you live far from home as many of the traditional dishes require imports so co-hosting is a nice way to share the financial burden! My thanksgiving musts are cranberry sauce made from fresh/flash frozen cranberries. (Def not a can!) and chestnut stuffing. Anything else isn’t mandatory. This year I had to give up in the creamed pearl onions. Our friends had to have peas and corn!
The menu included a big Turkey, chestnut (bread-free) stuffing and an amazing Moroccan stuffing. Cranberry sauce, brussel sprouts, peas, corn, salad, homemade arstisinal bread (french guests require bread at any table!), regular and sweet potato mash, gravy – which was saved by an Italian guest after the two cooks had imbibed too many homemade mojitos and were having a lump panic.

 Some more Thanksgiving and Holiday Stories from Expats;

China; Theresa of MommieQ 

Americans aren’t the only ones that experience holidays as expats. Check out this post from Wales by Jonathan of Dads the Way I Like It about St. Andrews Day a Scottish holiday.

 

There you have it! So know that even when you’re not living in your home country, bringing holiday traditions to whatever corner of the globe you’re in is an important priority.  Are you an expat? What was your Thanksgiving like this year?

 

 

 

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Technology Gift Ideas for Global Kids

Technology Gifts for Kids

It’s the season for gift guides and it’s got me thinking about the things my boys brought to Morocco and what we left behind. Space was (and is!) a big deal, so technology has helped us in many ways. But there are some toys they’ve really loved having. So, I thought why not share the things they love. This will be a two-part post. This one is dedicated to toys and technology gift ideas. In a post next week I’ll share the non-tech toys we love. The criteria for my decisions were:

  • how portable is it?
  • does it have some learning component?
  • does it keep them engaged and coming back again and again?

If yes, yes, and yes then it makes the cut! I tried to provide a variety of price ranges and age levels but keep in mind I have 2 boys that are 6 and 9.

Knex Roller Coaster

  • K’NEX Thrill Rides Phoenix Fury Roller Coaster Building Set – There are several different K’Nex Roller Coasters available, and this is one idea that crosses the border of tech and non-tech, but because it’s motorized I’m saying it’s technology based. If you’ve got a younger child (under 10) expect to help quite a bit, but for an older or more advanced child this will be a fun challenge. I was able to bring this set home with me from the US and M really likes it! (You can connect with KNEX to find their new products and promotions on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube)

 

 

Skylanders SWAP Force

 

Skylanders SWAP Force or Trap Team- Nintendo Wii – This game is available on all gaming systems, we just happen to own a Wii.  By far this is my youngest sons favorite game. We bought the first Skylanders game, the subsequent Giants game, and now SWAP Force. You might be scared away by the fact that the game depends on purchasing characters that go onto the game portal but fear not. This new version has swap-able characters. So even if you only have the two that come with the starter pack, you really have 4 because the tops and bottoms can be re-arranged. If you have characters from the older games they will all work with the new game. There is also a version of the game for iPad, each of the characters comes with a card that has a code, the code can be input to the iPad app to activate the character in that game.

 

Kindle Fire HD 7″, HD Display, Wi-Fi, 8 GB – Includes Special Offers and/or Apple iPad Mini MD528LL/A (16GB, Wi-Fi, Black & Slate) I know this is a big ticket item, but hear me out. Last year we bought both of our boys a Kindle Fire and a membership for our family to Amazon Prime (not sure you want a full year? Try it out with a free 30-day trial!) Best purchase ever! We can download English books and learning apps, music, and movies. I really enjoy both the iPad and Kindle – there is a big price difference. If you can swing it, opt for the iPad but if not the Kindle Fire is a good tablet for all ages.

 

Snap Circuits

 

Snap Circuits Jr. SC-100 Kit Last year M got this kit as a gift and spent hours going through the instruction book building circuits.  It’s super easy to use and manipulate. It also is a great extension activity to teach children scientific concepts. There are several different options to this kit available.

 

 

Lego

 

LEGO Minecraft 21102 This item also straddles the line of tech and non-tech but I’m adding it to my tech lineup. Both of my boys are Minecraft nuts. I really like that these Legos take the game off the screen and to hand held manipulatives. M likes to build the models and then re-create them in the game. This kind of hand-to-screen play encourages me that they’re learning real, applicable skills for further down the line.  There are two other sets available as well (LEGO Minecraft The Village 21105 and LEGO Minecraft The Nether 21106)

 

 

 

Calliope

 

Digital subscription to Calliope Magazine. Each issue is an adventure that brings children ages 9 to 14 face to face with history-makers in places and cultures from around the world and throughout time. Readers explore the provocative issues that shaped our world and follow the lives of the people who changed world history. This is a Kindle magazine, but you can use the Kindle reading app on just about every electronic device including desktop and laptop computers. You might also like Faces Magazine which focuses on the lives of kids around the world through stories, games, and crafts. Any digital books are a great gift, because they can be read anywhere, and you can always have access to several copies at anytime because they don’t take up precious space!

 

 These are our favorites!  I’d love to know which tech gifts your kids love.  Leave me a note in the comments!

 

Disclaimer: I received some of these items free of cost, however all opinions are my own. If you choose to purchase any of these items from the link I’ve shared, I will receive a small percentage, this does not cost you anything additional. 

 

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Slow Cooker Caramel and Salted Ginger Cheesecake

MarocBaba looooves caramel. It’s his favorite sweet topping.  Honestly, I know very few people who dislike it! I’ve shied away from making my own because it scares me. A year ago I attempted to make it from sugar and well let’s just say what I ended up with was a hard, sugary mess. So I gave up. Then my mom told me she saw a way to make caramel on Pinterest (of course!) and we should try it.

Caramel

So, last week she and I decided we would do holiday baking early as I won’t be here this holiday season. At the top of our list was attempting to make caramel.  I was skeptical – she was too – but we trusted the good people who pin on Pinterest to not lead us astray.  So how do you make it?

Get ready to have your mind blown!

Crockpot Caramel

This is so so simple.  What you need;

  • clean glass mason jars with lids
  • sweetened condensed milk
  • slow cooker

How do you do it?

Wash and dry the mason jars. Fill them, leaving a little space at the top, with sweetened condensed milk. Wipe off any dribble on the jar and put the lid on. Add about 1″ of water to the bottom of a slow cooker.  You don’t want to submerge the glass jars. If your jars are too tall, you can tip them on their side to cook.  Then set your slow cooker on low and forget about it for 6-8 hours.  You’ll know the caramel is done when it turns light brown.  Remove from the water and place on the countertop to cool. You want the caramel to cool down before opening it, otherwise you will end up with chunky caramel instead of smooth. After it’s cool then you can stir and use as desired!

Not only would this make a great gift for someone but is a delicious topping for Saffron Road’s Salted Caramel Mini Tarts.

Salted Caramel Cheesecake

These little guys are really tasty.  There’s 12 in a box and come frozen. Just thaw for 30 minutes and dig in.  I added them to my holiday buffet along with the other three flavors; chocolate coconut cheesecake and Kashmiri lemon ginger. You’ll want all of them because it’s too hard to just eat one.

Disclaimer: I am a paid ambassador for Saffron Road. All opinions are my own. 
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Creative Gift Ideas for Adults and Kids This Eid

Gift-giving is a tradition in Moroccan, and most Islamic cultures. You wouldn’t show up at someone’s home for dinner without a small gift for the hostess or children.  For Eid-al-Fitr, and Eid-al-Adha gifts take on a more celebratory role.  In Islamic countries the practice of gift giving during these holidays is largely based on giving children gifts.  It makes the event feel festive.  For children who have fasted the entire month of Ramadan (after which we celebrate Eid-al-Fitr) this is a token, a reward for their hard work and sacrifices. I have to admit it’s just in recent years that we’ve started to make the celebration of Eids more of a “big deal” by inviting family over and having small gifts for the kids. Since we are moving in two weeks, my sister has invited us (she’s not Muslim by the way) to her house for Eid dinner.

Eid Gift Ideas

If you’re hoping to celebrate in a bigger way this year here are some ideas from other bloggers to pique your interest;

 

Eid Gift Ideas Boys

My friend Amnah of, Little Life of Mine is kind of genius when it comes to her Eid gift bags.  I wish she was my auntie!  In this post she talks about some of the bags she has made for family members and her thought process as she puts them together.

If you’re like me then you could be at a complete loss as to what to get for older nieces and nephews that you have potentially spent quite a bit of time away from.  Amnah also faced this situation and opted for a sit down interview (ok not that serious!) with the kids to get a feel for what they like, and what they really weren’t into.  When in doubt – ask!  I think this point is especially true for older kids with specific tastes.

Eid Treat Bag

Do community members at your masjid hand-out treats to the kids on the Eid?  In some communities this is very common.  It reminds me of large family gatherings in Morocco for Eid when everyone brings something for the children of the family. Saira at Confessions of a Muslim Momaholic helps her kids make their own bags before Eid.  Then before the service they fill them with items that will keep them busy during prayers.  Aftewards they have a bag to take home their goodies too!

Eid Gift Bags

If your community doesn’t hand out treats for the kids wouldn’t that be a great tradition to start? Amnah has some really great, low-cost ideas to create gift bags en masse. You could tailor the contents for older kids and younger kids, but I’m sure that kids of any age would love to discover something special waiting for them on Eid.

Eid Lollipops

It’s a craft and a gift rolled into one!  Samantha at Life of a Mompreneur makes these fun chocolate lollipops and then wraps them in cello.  They can then be passed out as an Eid treat – just be sure to eat them first so they don’t melt! These might be a little fussy for a very small child to make but a great project for a 8+ year old to try with guidance.

Eid can take on a flavor of commercialsim too – just like any other holiday.  But, there are many ways to have a sustainable and holisitic holiday. Priscilla of Salam Mama has so many great suggestions such as; having a Mealess Monday (or other day) throughout the year, using leftover dates in creative ways, extend the Ramadan spirit of giving throughout the year, opt for gifting “green” gifts and spreading the love.  Her post contains some really fabulous ideas for a green Eid!

Eid Decorations

A Crafty Arab shares these great printables for Eid decorations.  There are some that could be used for home decorating and others for specializing treat bags or table decorations.

Food Gift Ideas

Ma’amoul – These cookies are popular in Ramadan too, but especially during Eid. In the Middle East there are special molds used to make these cookies but you can use shaped petit four pans to create unique shapes and designs. Life of a Mompreneur shares her easy recipe to create ma’amoul in an American stocked kitchen.

Checkerboard Cookies are some of my favorite.  I just love multi-colored cookies. I think these are a fun addition to any cookie plate.  Chef in Disguise has this recipe on her website.

Want to have a special breakfast treat either at the masjid or to send home with kids?  What about a breakfast pizza?  Summer Eid’s a great time to do this.  Simply bake the crusts and provide the frosting in a small container, and fruit in another.  This recipe from Chocolate Covered Katie will get you started.

Sheep Cake Pops.  Bakerella makes an adorable sheep cake pop.  You might want to save them for Eid al Adha but really is there any wrong time to make a sheep on a stick? No I didn’t think so.

Gift Ideas for Adults

Sometimes it’s all about the kids and adults get left out.  Especially for those of a “transitioning” age – say 17-22ish I think giving gifts is still applicable.  Really being generous to everyone is always appreciated.  Some ideas might include;

Hand painted tile coasters – awesome for a dorm or apartment. You can never have too many coasters.

Homemade Granola – Granola is so easy to make and almost everyone enjoys it.  You can inexpensively make a very large batch and divide it up.

Cookbooks!  For the new wife, or for someone who might be moving into their first apartment cookbooks can be a lifesaver.  I recently received a copy of Relish, by Daphne Oz. I was surprised with the layout of the book.  While it certainly has recipes (great recipes I might add!) it also has life sections. I really consider it a home ec course in a much more attractive and readable form.  She provides self-care tips, entertaining advice, and even some basic sewing tips.  I was really confused at first, but the more I looked at the book the more I realized this would be THE perfect book to give to a young adult, and/or newlywed bride.

A Few Others to Consider;

 

Will you be gifting anything special this year?  Share your ideas in the comments below!  

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This Thursday is the 4th of July and if you’re like me, you’re looking for the perfect dishes to take to BBQ’s, camping, or picnics. It’s got to be easy and portable but most of all delicious.

Here are a few ideas for your Independence Day Celebration.

 

Moroccan Potato Salad

Moroccan Potato Salad

Red, White, and Blue Chicken Salad

Lentil Burgers

Lentil Burgers

We’re off to spend an extra long weekend with family, enjoying the outdoors, swimming, and saying good-bye’s as we enter the final weeks before our move to Morocco. I hope you’ll have a great holiday weekend – and let me know what’s on your menu!

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